State of Play: 45 – 22 – 29

CRA’s opinion poll for Nova Scotia

As 2011 comes to a close, political pundits are reviewing the year in politics and coming up with the same conclusions – the NDP are doing well enough to deserve a second majority government, and the Conservatives are on track to take over from the Liberals as official opposition, ifpatterns hold into the 2013 election.

Here are former Conservative Cabinet Minister Jane Purves and Yarmouth writer Ralph Surette on CBC Radio’s Political Panel:

Purves: I give the government an A in their communications (on New Page and Bowater-Mersey) and their handling of their image because I think they’ve done a really good job in out front solving these problems. No government can absolutely solve them, but they have done a pretty good job.

Surette: Jamie Baillie and the Tories are getting more ink than the Liberals. I think that’s partly because Baillie has taken a more radical stance which gives him higher profile.

We would caution that in politics a lot can happen in a little time. The NDP will need to continue to provide strong and steady government, while tackling their core issues of poverty, health and the environment to win another majority.

But as the political poll blogger ThreeHundredEight points out, the current state of play looks good for the NDP.

The Liberals have been losing ground, primarily to the Tories. The Liberals had beaten the PCs by about 27% to 25% in that last election.

With these numbers, the New Democrats win 31 of the 52 seats in the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, unchanged from their current standing. The Progressive Conservatives win 11 seats, one more than they did in 2009 and four more than they currently have, while the Liberals win 10, one fewer than the last election and three fewer than they currently occupy.

One thing to keep in mind is that a 2013 election call would have the new electoral boundaries in place. How will those boundaries be redrawn? That’s up to an independent committee, using new census data. You can predict their decision by looking at the names on the Official Elections Nova Scotia List from the 2009 election.

Here were the smallest 5 constituencies in 2009:

Argyle 6474
Clare 6905
Yarmouth 7435
Preston 7680
Richmond 7954

Here were the largest 5 constituencies in 2009:

Clayton Park 19,976
Bedford 19,154
Dartmouth South 18,609
Hants East 18,091
Hammonds Plains – Upper Sackville 17,937

As is happening across the country, the suburbs of Halifax and Dartmouth are growing, and the rural areas within an hour’s drive outside those suburbs are picking up the population pace as well. If the new electoral boundaries are redrawn with fair representation in mind, things will only get tougher for the Tories.